Follow us on:

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

National Assembly

National Assembly gives go ahead for Utilities Regulatory Commission |13 September 2023

The National Assembly yesterday approved the Utilities Regulatory Commission Bill, 2023, which provides for the establishment of a commission, responsible for overseeing the electricity, water, and sewerage sectors, and other related matters.

The four-part bill was introduced to the National Assembly on April 4. However, it was withdrawn on April 5 to allow government to consider certain points raised by members.

It was subsequently reviewed and revised, with the updated version gazetted on July 24.

The object of the bill is to improve the quality and affordability of utility services, while simultaneously providing for the protection of the environment.

Asides from the establishment of a regulatory commission, the legal framework makes provisions for an equitable and just environment, to encourage private investments in the sector, Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert, noted.

The revised version of the bill makes two notable changes in comparison to the initial version. Firstly, all grammatical errors highlighted by the assembly’s Bills Committee have been corrected, in addition to some material changes, such as changes to the definitions of ‘consumers’ and ‘service providers’.

A number of clauses relating to the functions of the commission have also seen certain changes.

The bill serves to repeal the Energy Act 2012, and by consequence, the Seychelles Energy Commission and Seychelles Energy Board.

Among the roles of the Utilities Regulatory Commission will be to determine service standards, to evaluate applications for service providers, inspections and issuance of licenses.

Additionally, the commission will be tasked with setting energy tariffs, to ensure price stability.

Hon. John Hoareau, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) member, expressed support for the legal framework, noting that it creates an enabling environment to encourage investments in renewable energies. This will allow Seychelles to meet the 15 percent renewable energy target by 2030.

Seychelles will be on course to reach the target within the stated timeframe, the minister assured, asserting the feasibility, as long as the right environment is created.

On the other hand, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Sebastien Pillay, questioned Minister Joubert as to whether there are any independent power producers or service providers who will be joining the market soon.

Indeed, Minister Joubert confirmed that government has reached an agreement with a company which had for a number of years expressed its intent to establish a floating photovoltaic plant at Providence.

“All transactions relating to tariffs and connections to the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) system has been finalised. Soon, within the coming days, a bill will be presented which will clarify the company’s rights within the space which it is occupying, which is actually in the public domain,” Minister Joubert stated.

Moreover, government is extending an invitation to other independent power producers interested in waste to energy operations before the year end.

Hon. Pillay added that the law provides for government to exercise more bureaucratic control over businesses.

“We need to ensure that it will reap benefits for everyone,” Hon. Pillay highlighted.

No other members participated in the deliberations.

The bill was approved, as amended, by 19 votes in favour. No members voted against, while ten members abstained from the vote.


Laura Pillay


More news